Apps are everywhere. They are now on tablets, computers, mobile phones, and even televisions. It can, however, be difficult to choose the right Apps for you. Hopefully, my favorite App selections will give you some idea of what is out there and what an App can do for you.

When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, it revolutionized the world of mobile phones, computing, web surfing, and communications. The most influential part of the iPhone was the introduction of Apps. At first these small mini programs ran only on the iPhone. Now they have spread to many other types of smartphones as well as to tablets and computers.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to use Apps, don’t worry, your turn is coming. Even if you don’t go mobile with a smartphone or a tablet, you are sure to see Apps on your next computer. Apple’s Macintosh operating system already has Apps and when Windows 8 arrives this fall, Windows computers will also use Apps.

The number of available Apps has grown exponentially over that past several years. The Apple iTunes App store now has more than 585,000 Apps. The Android Play Store has more than 450,000 while Blackberry and Microsoft each offer 70,000+ Apps. In view of the massive numbers of apps available, it is not surprising that people often ask me about my favorite Apps.

So here we go…… a list of the 5 Apps that I use the most often and enjoy the most.

  1. Pandora Internet Radio

    This is one of my favorite free Apps, available for all devices except Microsoft. To use Pandora, you sign up for a free account and choose a song, musician, or singer that you like. Pandora then uses their priority Music Genome Project to identify features in that music and to deliver to you similar music that it thinks you will like.  A separate radio-like station is developed for each of the songs or musicians you enter. You can also mix artists and stations to create an even greater variety of music. As Pandora plays the music for you, you help it learn your tastes. Give a song a thumbs-down and Pandora will immediately stop that song and note your dislike. Give any song a thumbs-up and Pandora will present you with more similar music. This lets you enjoy the music you already like and also lets you discover new music.  It is a truly amazing and useful App.

  2. Evernote

    Evernote is more than just a note-taking application, it lets you remember all the little pieces of information that you find important. You can use it to jot down a note, save part of a web page, collect information on any subject, create an audio note, and store pictures and PDFs. Evernote will keep it all organized for you and has search capabilities that will let you find everything when you need it. Evernote is free for uploading up to 60 MG of data each 30 days. Evernote is available to for all mobile devices and you can also access it on your computer, making it even more useful. There is also a paid version that gives you additional features and more storage, but the free version is phenomenal and it is available for all devices.

  3. Kindle

    The Kindle App is a fantastic free App. It is a must have if you own a Kindle as well as another mobile device, but you can use it even if you don’t own a Kindle.

    Just install the App and all the books in your Amazon Kindle account show up on your device ready to be read. You can purchase books from the Amazon Kindle store and they also have a wide variety of free books available. This App is as full-featured as the Kindle itself, allowing you to highlight and annotate the text and letting you get a quick definition for any word. It will amazingly keep track of your reading progress across devices. So if you start reading something on your Kindle or your PC, then pick up you smartphone or tablet, the App will know exactly how far you read on the other device and take you to the proper page for you to keep reading without missing a word.

  4. Alarm Clock

    This Free program by iHandy, Inc. turns your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad or Android device into a beautiful digital clock. It displays the time in large neon green numbers that glow on a black background. If you prefer pick, red, blue or orange numbers, you can customize the color. This App is also a fully functioning alarm clock that can wake you with your choice of sounds or music. It also displays the temperature so that you know exactly how chilly you will be when you creep out from under the covers. It is perfect for that hotel room stay or even to use at home.

  5. Shazam and Sound Hound

    These are two similar music recognitions App. Just start the App and hold you device up to the music and it will tell you the name of the song and artist. You will also be given more information about the artist and song including pictures and YouTube videos. Of course, links to purchase the music are also available. Both of these Apps have additional features. While I like the Shazam interface better, Sound Hound will also let you see the words to the song scroll across the screen as the artist sings. Great when you cannot quite understand the lyrics.

While all five of these Apps are free. Some have discreet ads and all, except the Kindle App, have an inexpensive upgrade that gives you additional features. All however, are wonderful and extremely useful in their free format. Of course, I have many more Apps that I really like, including a few games. My family has many Apps they like, as well. Even my three year old granddaughter has a favorite App. So stay tuned to future articles and I’ll give you even more ways to have fun with your computer and mobile devices.